Time and Tide does seem to wait in Gladys

29 06 2012

Whats happened to time? Its gone all bendy and out of shape, in a really good way though. Gone are the rigid confines of time that  seemed time tabled into conventional living. I used to have an inner feeling that time in each day was running out. I was bound by time, up against the clock all day really so that I could have some time in the evening to relax with Alistair before Mr Sandman called me for my 9.30 ish appointment with him!

Being in Gladys and our parking place in natures garden has changed this, a lot. Time seems to meander really gently as each day unfolds  whether I am working or not. We have only ourselves to please, there is hardly any upkeep and the pace is deliciously relaxed. And, another first for me, Mr Sandman seems to have relaxed his grip on me, unheard of I know, but I am alive and kicking at past 11pm these days!

Talking of alive and kicking, I have myself a real life Tamagotchi. Remember those little virtual pets that became popular in the 90’s (they may well still be popular but we don’t have youngsters that young around us any more), the ones that needed feeding regularly, cleaning up after, medicine administered when sick and an attention icon that lit up when it needed attention otherwise they die? Well I have one here, in the familiar form of Alistair!

Pippin who was always on hand in the old house to help out with Alistair related care if I had to go away suggested that indeed it was like looking after a Tamagotchi and she was quite right. Where does Alistair’s locus of control go when it comes to him looking after himself?

Anyone that knows him well will know that without a shadow of a doubt he likes to be in control of things (think Foreman on ALL things and you will get the idea). Its what makes him him, I have always said that he has a fairly complicated label but if you read the label carefully then there’s no problem. But crikey, bring on a healthcare discipline that needs ultimate control and his gland for control doesn’t seem to work (maybe its taken sympathy with his Prostate gland and gone into hiding)!

Lucky for the Tamagotchi then that I, who in our relationship have always been happy to follow, and amenable to his label, in this instance can plan and structure and timetable as if it was a route march and our lives depended on it (well Alistair’s does so I’m not far wrong there). I knew my time in the NHS would come in handy!

People who have read this blog have commented about Alistair’s bravery at going down a completely alternative non medical route. Yes it is brave but for us it has none of the fear attached to it that comes from the medical model. What has emerged though is that healing requires sustained effort and time. That is something that is not prescribed on the NHS, pills yes, things that are out of your control yes, Consultants staring at you over a desk and shaking their heads if you disagree yes but to give yourself time, no.

So for me it is simply wonderful that time has bent out of its rigid shape that tied us both up in its net in our old conventional way of living. Its wonderful that Alistair has time to rest and heal and soak up natures energy allowing his cells to create healthy tissue and bring his internal system into a more balanced state, perhaps for the first time ever.

It is a pleasure for me to have time to prepare his concoctions, mix up his muesli a la Budwig, juice the copious amounts of veg each morning and take care of the 4 times daily nutritional supplements that he must take. In Tamogotchi world, I meet the hourly and daily needs of the Tam and in return I get a strong, healthy well balanced playmate!

And of course, in reality it isn’t that time has changed its shape at all, I have changed, we both have. Stress, worries, financial concerns and all manner of daily hassles that came with conventional living that we were more or less unaware of (apart from the monthly bills of course) have gone and in their place we are cultivating an environment of peace, relaxation and simply being.

Two weeks in and we are truly loving every minute of our life in Gladys, near the woods, under the oak trees.

Less is definitely more

24 06 2012

Well, a week in, and all is well in the Glad -mobil. To be honest it feels like we are on holiday at the moment and we both keep wondering when it will stop feeling like that and ‘real life’ will kick in. Given that we are not actually on holiday though and the week has unfolded quite smoothly I can only presume that both Alistair and I were both born to be ‘trailer trash’!!

I have had a slightly unsettled feeling this week though, nothing to do with Gladys, more to do with visiting a Harley Street Doctor who uses alternative /herbal supplements to treat active Prostate cancer. The guy was Ok, you know, well spoken and friendly enough,but I found merely being there , across the desk from him, created an unease  in me that I had not experienced since ‘The Worst Day’ when we saw the last Consultant who only gave hope if we opted for the cut it, burn it, poison it routine that modern day Doctoring has to offer.

Knowing me I probably would have felt a lot happier if we hadn’t been separated by the desk and had instead been seated in a couple of comfy armchairs and surrounded by crystals, wind chimes and some floaty music!

I was heartened though that we seem to be doing over and above what he recommends and also that we knew so much more than he was talking to us about.

So what came out of the consultation apart from a £300 bill?

2 blood tests, one to measure Alistairs vitamin D levels, which for those of you who are interested is crucial in combatting cancer and the second to measure his PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), not wholly accurate but the only measure really used in charting the progression or decrease in cancer of the Prostate. I think its these measurements that make me feel shaky, the readings seem so narrow and tend to shoe horn you down a path of either good or bad, right or wrong, working or not working. Still we await the results and will tailor our efforts accordingly once we have them.

There was an upside to our day out in London though, Alistair bought me an amazing book from the College of Natural Medicine (where I am enrolled and soon to be starting a 3 year diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition) called Healing Spices. What a read, you realise don’t you that mother nature has provided absolutely everything we could possibly need to heal from  every kind of ill there is. Funny isn’t it or ironic that this healing knowledge has been passed down and used in Ayurvedic households for generations and yet in our Westernised society scientific tests are in their infancy and nobody can have it until its been proven, measured, bottled and sold! How our forefathers and olden day folk must be roaring with laughter and shaking their heads with pity at our narrow constricted medical world.

But back to the book, I don’t mind telling you that Gladys’ tiny kitchen has been working over time this week and the wonderful aromas and tastes that have been created using spices that not only taste amazing but have the potential to shrink and kill cancerous cells have been a pleasure to us both.

Unusually for us, we also got to eat out in London. A real find for us, a whole food, raw food vegetarian hang out in Neals Yard, Yay, we didn’t have to have packed lunch or home dinners that day. Im planning on another stop there in the not too distant future if anyone fancies giving it a try.

So thats the curve ball update, Alistair is well and really beginning to unwind. Financial worries have been relieved and replaced by dilemmas about macerators, grey waste and whether the cats have come home or not!

For me, this week I have finally had a chance to unwind. I have found solace under the great Oak Tree that has become fondly known as ‘Earth Spirit’. I have spent quiet mornings surrounded by my crystals, meditating and giving thanks for all that we have. I have really understood this week that the more we have the more we need and yet the less we have the less we actually need.

Happiness and contentment have been our companions this week as we have lived, laughed and loved in Gladys. I think Kirt really summed it all up when he came for the afternoon yesterday when he casually remarked “Its feels just like home mum, just a bit further away”


Tired, Stretched but Not Scratchy

18 06 2012


The final days of moving from the angel wrapped house were quite something.

We camped out on Wednesday and Thursday night on the bedroom floor as Kirt inherited our lovely iron framed bed, TV and any other stig of the dump things he could find room for!

We had a couple of hairy solicitor moments (not that the solicitor was hirsute you understand, more that the legal stuff was getting us a bit on edge). Firstly, as a second time rounder in the marriage department (remember the saying, first the worst, second the best oh and third the old mans hairy chest! Actually Alistairs chest is quite hairy so hopefully I can merge second and third together), my signatures didn’t match on the documents I had sent over for exchange. Where to put my hands on my marriage certificate and passport immediately when most of my possessions were boxed and already in Gladys. Amazingly, and by fluke rather than organisation ,I had both of them to hand and we were able to scan and email them directly thus averting a small emotional tsunami in the now almost empty front room.

Second hairy moment; I received an email at 5pm Thursday evening from non hirsute solicitor saying that the final settlement figure from the Royal Bank of Scotland was still not in and without it the money could not be released. YIKES . Called RBS and was told that they were waiting to hear from the personal account department and that the information would take 24 hours to be collated and sent to the appropriate department for clearing. My response” I DON”T THINK SO” of course executed in a manner according to all stress management and communication skills known to man and the world renowned Centre for Stress Management!

Back on the phone at 0830 Friday 15th June, having been up since 5am packing the final bits and bobs (by the way I am sure there is actually a bits and bobs monster that continually generates bits and bobs whilst your back is turned) and starting to clean the place for Mr and Mrs O. After a 30 minute conversation with the young advisor she advised me that the personal accounts department had received the request and that they would be dealing with it but it couldn’t be guaranteed that it would be done before lunchtime as there were other people’s requests ahead of mine. Obviously the young advisor was also using her communication skills techniques and for those in the know was using the thoroughly annoying ‘broken record technique’: “I do hear what you are saying Mrs Rhind but there is nothing that can be done, I do hear what you are saying Mrs Rhind but there is nothing more I can do , I do hear what you are saying Mrs Rhind and I am sorry that we are out of time on this but this is nothing more that we can do”, you get the picture. Final piece of advice from advisor, would I like to speak to the complaints team so they can action an investigation. NO I want to speak to the  manager of the Personal Accounts Department to get my account to the top of the pile!!!

Through to the complaints department.

Finally, somebody who didn’t use the broken record technique, who listened and created a solution and went out of her way to make sure that everything that could be done would be done and, I didn’t even have to resort to my final girl power technique….crying hysterically and giving this whole cancer curve ball and selling up and leaving my home and blah blah blah story. Lucky for Christine in complaints!

10am Christine from complaints called to say the team were working on it and it would be faxed as soon as possible, as near to 12 as they could, Hurrah for Christine in complaints.

11am, non hirsute solicitor called to say they had the final settlement figure and everything was being processed and actioned.

So, it was finally all good to go. And go we did.

Alistair and a very hung over Kirt, after delivering a car full of boxes (the bits and bobs monster has been at large and increased the tally of archive boxes somewhat) to an extremely kind and accommodating  Pagan, headed up on the Harley to Bicester to fetch Gladys back complete with new trailer for the Harley.

Meanwhile I continued to battle the bits and bobs monster, cleaned, remembered I had forgotten to empty the contents of the fridge freezer ( I loved that fridge freezer), dried the last bit of laundry (launderettes from now on for us unless any family members don’t mind our smalls and stuff coming to visit their washing machine when we visit them), took more stuff to an even more accommodating Pagan and went to the dump with the bits that nobody wanted and couldn’t be recycled.

12pm  non hirsute lady phoned, YIKES… money transferred, keys to be exchanged… property to be vacated by 1pm!!!!!! Sometimes I wonder at my own ability to manage. There were still kitchen cupboards to clean, floors to mop, rooms to be hoovered, the lean-to to be swept and more bloody bits and bobs to do something with.  And it was whilst I was cleaning up the raw cocoa powder that had spilt sometime ago in the corner cupboard of the kitchen that it finally all caught up with me, you know those wails from the depths of your belly, that start with a deep breath in and a couple of short breaths out and then……waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So I wailed (whilst still cleaning the corner cupboard, I was up against the clock here) and thanked the house and the old lady whose spirit I am sure had looked after us, and said my goodbyes to each and every part of the most adored and treasured home that I had ever lived in in my whole entire life, ever.

1.40pm Done, completely frazzled, bright red and with slight palpitations I found sanctuary and a cup of Three ginger tea at an ever more accommodating Pagans house. Pippin arrived home shortly after (remember she moved in with Pagan and Al a few weeks back) slightly less enamoured with the accumulation of bits and bobs being stored in boxes in the hallway but very impressed with the hoover that she had inherited from us. After testing out the hoover she, Pagan and I sat and whiled away the afternoon waiting for news of Gladys’ progress from Bicester to her new destination in Essex. Oh, I also used the equity that had just landed into my account to pay for Gladys and then spent some wonderful time deleting some rather heavy direct debits from my bank account, you know, mortgage, council tax, gas and electric, telephone rental, Phew what a relief!

640pm: Kirt and Alistair’s ETA was half an hour from the camp site where were staying (no, not Dale Farm), so Pipps and I braced ourselves and made our way over, both of our little C1’s filled to the brim, ready for the final part of the days activities, namely, unpacking, finding the ropes (still not a barge in sight) oh and cooking something for tea; no takeaways allowed not even on move days!

730pm: Well the boys did fabulously well, Kirt, starved but less over hung, had co piloted brilliantly and had I been wearing a hat I would have taken it off to Alistair, manoeuvring a 33ft RV and towing the Harley without a practice run to my mind is awesome, manly and that’s why I love him.

If you could only have seen us, boxes, bedding, bags, food shopping, coats, wellies, crates, tubs, suitcases, work bags all being carted into Gladys, Candace and I resolute that it would all be OK, Alistair shaking his head and muttering’ no more boxes, no more boxes’ Kirt figuring out how things worked whilst satiating his empty stomach. What a sight, what an accomplishment, what a feat oh and one thing the RV dealer didn’t mention, the slide out on Gladys that extends her from ‘skinny narrow and more narrow’ to much wider and livable in doesn’t bloody work!

Pippin is certainly her mothers daughter. By 930-ish everything was done, all clothes hung away, bed made, throws in place, cushions plumped, C1’s loaded back to the brim with cast off’s and Gladys’ old decor that wasn’t to our liking (very green velour cushions, loads of them). And at long last wild Alaskan salmon with salad and wholemeal pittas cooked for supper. Those kids are amazing x

10.40pm: And so, finally at the end of  very long day we said goodnight to Pipps and Kirt and we crept into our new queen size bed  and slept, well I slept, whereas Alistairs head was full of mince and tatties about all sorts of Gladys related mens stuff that’s not for girls to worry about so his sleep was more fitful.

Saturday, no rest though, we had 2 cats to collect from our friends Mike and Lindsey’s, 2 dogs to collect from kennels and glass bottled water to fetch from Waitrose (we couldn’t bring our reverse osmosis water filter with us so until we source one that will fit in Gladys it will have to be bottled, not Plastic due to the BPA content).

We did have 2 cats… Nitten was missing at Lindseys! What a start. We left with Brian and kept our fingers crossed that Nitten would turn up on our return the next day. We made an executive decision to extend the dogs stay in Kennels until Monday 18th, a bit of breathing space. Alistair had mens stuff to do! Can you believe that Gladys had been sold with grey and black waste tanks still full (YUK, that means other people’s jobbies were still in the tank. That’s why it’s like a Yorkie bar job, not for girls). The fresh water tank needed filling and we didn’t have 100 metres worth of hose. True to form, I buggered off to do the Waitrose run( I know its against my principles to use a supermarket but needs must and I figured Waitrose at least has decent animal welfare and also has a good range of organic food).

Yippee, on my return all jobbies removed, water tank full and a modicum of calm in Gladys

Pippin and Roy visited for an early Fathers day meal, Pippin was distraught about a missing Nitten and then all of us experienced a rise in anxiety as Brian ventured out and promptly disappeared.

Quite frankly, we are all exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed and still coming to terms with the enormity of our lifestyle change. As Candace said quite rightly, in our heads it all seemed fine and we knew it was happening but in our feelings it is yet to sink in and become normal and fine. Missing cats don’t help !

Saturday Night: Still no Brian,just before dark I took a final wander around the field, ‘Brian, Brian, come on Brian where are you’ honestly,  the other people must think we are bonkers, no Brian in sight until just as I reached the front door, Brian Popped out. Yay

Not so Yay, we were still pacifying a very discombobulated  Brian at 1am in the morning, at 2am Alistair had had enough and put him outside, at 2.30am Alistair got up feeling guilty at putting him out and was wandering about outside calling for him. At 3am I was up making us sleepy tea and joining in the Brian hunt. Finally, by 3.30am Brian, Alistair and I were all settled back down to sleep at last!

Sunday and a new day dawned. An abundance of all manner of different birds welcomed the morning in for us and a few rabbits made their presence known. Sunlight was gently filtering through the beautiful old oak tree under which Gladys is shaded and an equally beautiful old willow also lends its charm and energy for us to enjoy. Finally I was able to take in and appreciate my new surroundings after the busyness and strain of the past couple of days, wonderful, truly wonderful, an oak tree and a willow gently energising us as we started to recoup and recharge  our batteries.

Fathers day however wasn’t put on hold for moving! There was my old dad to visit, the children coming to Gladys to visit their old dad and to give Gladys a Rhind lunch baptism and a Nitten to be found. And find her we did, hiding out in Lindseys bedroom! There were smiles all round on her homecoming to Gladys.

Gladys coped amazingly well with 8 of us for lunch, even without her extending side. The children coped amazingly well in Gladys, they didn’t find it too strange and were completely affirming of their old folks alternative living style. As Hannah said, “It suits you, not because you are weird, because you are free spirits” so that was nice. Kirt, to Holly’s joy managed to get the TV working as there was an aerial in the roof that we didn’t know was there, so there is a semblance of entertainment for those who want it.

So we were blessed with all of the children visiting over the weekend and Brian and Nitten. Just Laddie and Ebony and then our new home will be complete.

Monday the 18th June, a day off for us both. I asked Alistair this morning if he had any itches that needed scratching, no he said he wasn’t itchy at all and didn’t need any scratching. I was very pleased to hear that as today is our 7th wedding anniversary, so I can continue to be contented and settle into our new life in Gladys, letting the energy of the old oak tree soothe our souls and heal our selves.

I am so thankful to everyone who has given encouragement, support and love to us as we have ventured along the path of difference. I am especially thankful to Candace and Kirt for being so generous with their time and effort on move day and to all of the children for their loyalty and support of us. We love you.

Friday is ‘G’ Day, thanks to the ‘Big -Yin’

13 06 2012

We had to get the big guns out yesterday!

You see, my job, as I see it, is to help keep Alistair well, so my intentions are always good. You will no doubt remember from my very first post that stress plays a huge part in both the development and progress of cancerous cells. So, keeping stress to a minimum has been of huge importance and a key part in our choice to live alternatively. So far so good.

However, somehow along the way, I confused helping Alistair to stay well with making it my job to manage his stress levels AND to have him manage stress the same way as I do!! Now, if we add into this fuzzy logic equation a bunch of solicitors who seem to be on a completely different time zone to GMT or any other recognised world zone for that matter with absolutely no sense of urgency, you will no doubt begin to pick up the feeling that things were becoming a little fraught.

My approach (all in the spirit of keeping stress low for Alistair) was very ‘laissez-faire’, you know; don’t worry, it will happen when it’s ready, don’t upset yourself , these things take time, another week won’t make too much difference, blah blah blah. Alistair’s on the other hand and much more true to life for him was more like; ”  Hold on a minute, What the fuck is going on, what is this stupid wee girl (solicitor not me) doing and WE ARE MOVING ON FRIDAY COME WHAT MAY” (yikes… as Holly once said “when Daddy shouts everyone cry’s”!

Well that certainly got the wind up! (and not a lentil in sight)!

That, and the fact that we managed to liaise with the buyers directly (Hannah & Craig, you were both certainly right with that piece of advise that I / We didn’t heed)!

Mr & Mrs ‘O’ seem really nice and as soon as I heard them say “we will take good care of the house” I got that feeling that the house had once again chosen its next guests to stay for as long as they need its love, warmth and charm!

So, thanks to Alistair having new documents couriered over to the buyers, giving the wee girl a stern tone and reclaiming his right to do things his way (after all that’s exactly why he didn’t follow the medical model down the path of passive acceptance that would de-masculate him and steal his spirit and probably make his health worse) we have exchanged contracts and are set to be moving out of our angel wrapped house and into our love filled charrabang this Friday.

Yesterday, on the pretence of delivering Alistair’s sofa (well it is his, nobody else ever got to sit there unless he was far far away from home) to Hannah and Danny’s, Candace, Alistair and I got to spend some delicious time with Jakey Pakey Lemon Squakey which was a real treat. And Hannah got to languish in her dads favourite seat!

Alan and Kev’s (AKA Alistair & Kirt, don’t ask me where on the earth these names came from I have absolutely no idea but it truly is what they call each other) removals are booked today to take a few bits of furniture to Mum and Dads garage for storage for Candace & Kirt, and our bed and TV to Kirt’s temporary accommodation so at least though no longer at home with us he can have a comfy bed to watch telly in!

That leaves the two of us with a camping chair each, a lamp, a single futon mattress and a couple of duvets to keep us comfy until Friday.

Gladys will seem like a 5 star hotel in comparison.

Alistair has lost his sofa and is demoted to our remaining chair

In Glad, with Love

8 06 2012

Yesterday saw Alistair and me packing up another dozen boxes, loading our little C1 to the brim and driving up to Oxfordshire, where we found Gladys, cheerily awaiting our arrival and obligingly opening her doors to our cherished and prized possessions.

I think I had made a couple of errors in estimating our final box tally!

The 24 archive boxes I was expecting is more likely to be 30 and I think that I have not quite been without Ruth as far as my clothes are concerned, Alistair on the other hand has been totally without her, (Ruthless if you were a bit slow on the uptake there).

That said however, Gladys just invited our belongings in without fuss and gently enveloped her warmth around us as we unpacked, or rather as I unpacked and Alistair, well Alistair sort of soaked up the Gladmoshere and dealt with very important man type stuff, you know, asking questions about water filters, macerators, making sure the payload was even, oh and blowing off in the lavvy!

It’s lovely inside Gladys, and even though the heavens absolutely opened and the grey clouds engulfed Bicester, I promise you that in Gladys and in our hearts the sun shone and shone and shone. Being in Gladys feels so at home, her energy is amazing and the pair of us could have stayed with her all day, albeit she is at the moment in a parking lot at the dealers on a trading estate with barely a tree in sight.

By the end of the weekend I hope Gladys will be proudly wearing my most treasured possession, my beautiful hand painted mirror that Alistair made for me when we first met. The mirror being hung in its place of honour symbolises ‘home sweet home’ for us and all who stay with us (my guess is that Pippin will be the first to sleep over, Kirt too maybe, but definitely Pipps and if we complete on the 15th she’ll be sleeping over on the 15th)!

Alistair, brilliant Pop to Jake is thinking ahead now: how to safeguard the steps so Jakey Pakey lemon Squakey won’t tumble down them as he zooms up and down the living room like a ball down the bowling alley! He would have had difficulty with zooming in this house, too many spails in the old floorboards!

I realise there are a few symbolic artefacts still required from our Angel wrapped cottage house: the buddha that sits outside the front door, the fairy plaque that hangs in the garden, the wind chimes that ease our minds as we drift to sleep, the Turkish Eye that see’s and protects and our dish of grounding stones and crystals.

Our hearts though are already there.

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